Apple answers MacBook Pro battery gripes -- by yanking time-remaining estimate

Not the first time that Apple's wrestled with power calculations

Michael DeAgonia

Apple yesterday responded to complaints about too-short battery life in its new MacBook Pro with an update that removed the time-remaining estimate from macOS.

The Cupertino, Calif. company has dealt with battery estimate issues before, notably in 2012 when it said that the feature in iOS was imprecise by design.

MacBook Pro users have griped online that their new laptops were telling them that the battery had much less time left than the promised 10 hours, even when the indicator showed a full charge. Others, however, were adamant that it was not the time-remaining estimate that was the problem, but instead that they were getting significantly less running time than Apple claimed would be the case.

"The battery life is horrible," reported someone identified as bungle on Reddit. "Just used it 100% to 10% in 1.5 [hour]. Just doing coding on PhpStorm and Chrome. My 6 years old Pro does a lot better."

On Tuesday, Apple released macOS 10.12.2, the second update to Sierra, that dropped the time-remaining estimate from the indicator that shows in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Instead, the sole option was to display the remaining charge estimate as a percentage of full charge.

The description of the 10.12.2 update did not mention dropping the time-remaining estimate. Third-party utilities, such as iStat Menu, which offer their own time-remaining battery estimates, continued to work after the Sierra update.

Apple has wrestled with battery estimate issues before. In March 2012, for example, accusations were aimed at iOS and the iPad, which an expert said was shortchanging users by showing a 100% charge when in fact the device was only up to around 90%. A day later, Apple acknowledged the researcher's analysis but said that's how the tablet and operating system were designed.

At the time, an Apple marketing executive said that the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch all displayed "100%" on their battery indicators well before they are completely charged.


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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